We Wish You a Happy Birthday, Barcode!

The patent for the barcode was filed in the United States in 1952.  Today marks the 61st anniversary of the barcode.  Last year, for the 60th anniversary, we shared a barcode anniversary infographic providing some key takeaways.

  • The barcode was invented to help track inventory at grocery stores.
  • Though the barcode can be seen on a daily basis, it has adapted and re-formed into a variety of shapes – QR codes, RFID, 2D and 3D – to satisfy a broader range of needs.
  • Today, barcodes are used in variety of industries from manufacturing (barcoding fleets) and healthcare (barcodes on patient ID bracelets) to science (tagging bees and other animals to track mating habits and location).

If you aren’t really sure what a barcode is or how it works, don’t worry! Most of us see barcodes everywhere, but don’t give them much thought. In less than a minute, this video, What is a Barcode, explains the barcode basics and their advantages.

As we mentioned, barcodes are used in a variety of ways and a variety of places; many of which you might not even be aware. A creative and innovative example of barcode use is the way not-for-profit, RecycleBank, entices people to recycle. They are adding barcodes to recycling bins to provide incentive-based recycling. A barcode is embedded into the recycling bin – when the recycling truck picks up the bin, the barcode is scanned. Scanning the barcode automatically calculates the value of the recycled items.  The dollar amount of those recycled items can be redeemed through shopping coupons by the individuals participating in RecycleBank’s program.

Find out more innovative ways barcodes are being used.

In honor of the barcode anniversary, we will share barcode content throughout the day on Twitter using the hashtag #HappyBirthdayBarcode. Feel free to chime in with your barcode related stories.

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Brian Sutter

Brian Sutter

Director of Marketing at Wasp Barcode
Brian Sutter is the Director of Marketing at Wasp, responsible for the development and execution of the company’s marketing strategy. His role encompasses brand management, direct and channel marketing, public relations, advertising, and social media. He also writes and speaks on topics related to helping small business owners grow their business and improve operational efficiency.
Brian Sutter
Brian Sutter